Logs export from Sabah banned

Shafie (centre) in a group photo with the management staff of Yayasan Sabah.

Updated.

KOTA KINABALU: Export of logs from Sabah will be banned with immediate effect.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal said the drastic move was taken to ensure sufficient timber for factories in the State and job opportunities for the locals.

“I will inform the Forestry Department and relevant authorities later today. In the meantime, the export of logs (from Sabah) will be banned until further instruction is given by the State Government,” he said, adding that it was a temporary measure.

Shafie made the announcement at a press conference after his visit to Yayasan Sabah and briefing by the foundation’s management here on Wednesday.

The Sabah Timber Industries Association welcomed the announcement made by the Chief Minister that the logs export from Sabah will be banned with immediate effect.

Its president, Datuk James Hwong You Chuaang, said that this move is good and is the long awaited life saving measure to revive the timber industry.

“The association is very grateful and thankful for the initiative undertaken as over the years many mills have closed down due to shortage of raw material. The downstream timber industry in Sabah has been suffering for a long time due to insufficient supply of raw material,” he said in a statement yesterday.

James further elaborated that importation is not an option for every manufacturer in Sabah as most of the factories are set up to cater for processing local timber species from Sabah’s own forest. Furthermore, cost of importation is very high due to logistic and unfavourable infrastructure connectivity.

“Uncertainty in supply of raw material is in fact one of the stumbling blocks for mills to venture into further downstream as interest to further invest in this industry is facing many challenges,” he pointed out.

In addition, production of the Sabah Timber Industries Association’s members and export markets are based on local timber species for the last 40 years and therefore the continuous supply of raw material is a critical assurance to Sabah timber industry players, he said.

James said the announcement to ban export of logs by the Chief Minister is seen as a ray of hope and there is light at the end of the tunnel for the timber industry now to survive and boost employment for locals in Sabah as well.

“It is a lifeline for industry. If we continue with the log export policy, more mills will close down. With this announcement, it is the hope of the association that the timber industry in Sabah will be further developed in line with the policy of the long-term Sabah timber industrialization programme,” he added.

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